Hellraisers Journal: Striking Iron Miner, John Alar, Shot and Killed on Mesabi Range

Pray for the dead
and fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones

Friday June 23, 1916
Virginia, Minnesota – Striker Shot and Killed on Mesabi Iron Range

Minnesota Iron Miners Strike, Hibbing w IWW Banner, June 21, 1916

John Alar, iron miner, has paid the ultimate price for going out on strike against the powerful moneyed interests who control of life and liberty up on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. We caution our readers that the following are early accounts of events which led to the death of the striking miner. As is per usual, the strikers are blamed and a striker’s wife has been arrested. We expect that further reports will reveal that company guards, are, in fact, responsible for the death of John Alar.

From Minnesota’s Brainerd Daily Dispatch of June 22, 1916:

Death Results Virginia Strike

(By United Press)

Virginia, Minn., June 22-John Alar, a striking miner, was killed, and a miner by the name of Wenzel was wounded, when an attempt was made to prevent the strikebreakers from starting to work at the Alpena mine this morning.


From Portland’s Oregon Daily Journal of June 22, 1916:

Deputies Kill Miner In
Minnesota Strike

Virginia, Minn., June 22.-(U. P.)-John Alar, striking Austrian miner, was killed and Wenzell Allas, another striking miner, was wounded by deputy sheriffs today when the miners attempted to prevent strike breakers starting work at the Alpena mine.

Deputy Sheriff Al McKenzie sustained scalp wounds from a brick thrown from a crowd of men and women. Many women and girls shot frequently from the upper stories of houses without effect. One hundred shots were exchanged before the miners were dispersed.


From The Cincinnati Enquirer of June 23, 1916:


Fired Upon By Woman.
Pitched Battle Is Fought Between Special Police
and Striking Miners.


Virginia, Minn., June 22.-Armed with a repeating rifle, a woman said to be Mrs. Nick Roseandich, wife of a striking miner, stood on her porch here early to-day and fired at random into a crowd of mine guards who were engaged in a pitched battle with strikers. More than 50 shots were exchanged.

John Alar, striker, was killed in the battle, three shots passing through his body. David Foley, chief of the Oliver mine police, claimed Mrs. Roseandich fired the shot which killed Alar. She was arrested on his complaint to-day.

The strikers said they were on their way to Alpena mine to picket the property when they were met by the mine guards. They declare they were attempting to persuade other miners to join the strike when the guards charged them with clubs.

The miners returned the attack with bricks and stones and it was then that the special police used their guns.




The Brainerd Daily Dispatch
(Brainerd, Minnesota)
-June 22, 1916

The Oregon Daily Journal
(Portland, Oregon)
-June 22, 1916

The Cincinnati Enquirer
(Cincinnati, Ohio)
-June 23, 1916

Minnesota Iron Miners Strike, Hibbing w IWW Banner, June 21, 1916

See also:

Minnesota Historical Society at Facebook
-on 100th anniversary (June 2nd) of start of strike: